Kaipara mayor Craig Jepson unrepentant over ban on karakia & More Trending News


Councillor Pera Paniora (left) wanted to begin the council meeting with a karakia but Kaipara Mayor Craig Jepson (second right) was quick to reject her request.

Councillor Pera Paniora (left) needed to start the council assembly with a karakia however Kaipara Mayor Craig Jepson (second proper) was fast to reject her request.
Photo: Screenshot / Kaipara District Council

Kaipara’s mayor is not going to change his stance on banning karakia from council conferences.

Craig Jepson interrupted councillor Pera Paniora a number of instances this week when she tried to start out a hui in te reo Māori.

He has been referred to as culturally insensitive by some members of the general public.

But Jepson stated he dealt with the scenario appropriately.

Councillors have been there to do enterprise and particular religions or cultures shouldn’t be included in conferences, he stated.

“I don’t have to include anything in the meetings. I don’t have to include Indian culture, Asian culture, any other culture or religion or non-religious group – or Nordic – I don’t have to give selections to anybody. We’re there to do the business, we don’t have to open it in any way.”

He was not insensitive, he stated.

“It’s not racist at all in my opinion, I’m not a racist person. I wanted to run a secular council, I’m quite happy to have all groups included.”

Jepson campaigned in opposition to Māori wards.

Pera Paniora (Te Roroa, Ngāti Whātua), who represents Te Moananui o Kaipara, stated she had obtained a whole lot of messages of help this week.

But the mayor’s behaviour had been “disheartening”.

“He states that he wants everyone to be included and treated equally. But from where I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks, he’s not afforded the same opportunities to Māori and it comes across in such a way that makes you wonder, is there more to it?”

She stated there was “a lack of respect or courtesy, shown by the mayor, and a simple discussion with me beforehand would have gone a long way”.

More than 1 / 4 of individuals within the district whakapapa Māori and Paniora stated many have been feeling “like we have a leader who’s leading us, but Māori aren’t valued or included in that”.

She hoped the council may come to a compromise earlier than the following hui.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon has stated he was shocked and disenchanted about what had occurred on the council assembly.

“It’s very important for councils and all organisations to create the right space to encourage Māori to honour the Treaty of Waitangi, to provide a space to express their culture and language,” Foon stated.

“I would encourage the leaders of Kaipara District Council to acknowledge that and create a safe environment for all people.”

Kaipara mayor Craig Jepson unrepentant over ban on karakia

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Kaipara mayor Craig Jepson unrepentant over ban on karakia

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Kaipara mayor Craig Jepson unrepentant over ban on karakia

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